Thursday, May 22, 2008

Awards Assembly

Tuesday we held our Fifth and Sixth Grades Awards Assembly. This is always a wonderful assembly to end our schoo
l year. We give out many special awards in honor of former students and teachers. They are awards for most outstanding sixth grade student, most improved sixth grade student, sportsmanship awards named after a former student, a student who has displayed courage named after another former student, and a fifth grade boy and girl chosen for their kindness to others. This award is in honor of my dear friend, Ellen Widmer, who died almost five years ago. Ellen taught at Gilbert Elementary for many years. I remember when we told her that this award was going to be named after her. It was in May before she died the following October. She was so touched by this. Nancy Proffitt, one of our dear friends who taught with Ellen, along with a former student of Ellen's, presented the Ellen Widmer Kindness Award.

A few years ago when we were involved in the Hands Across the Border student exchange program, Dottie Dawn suggested that we give an award in my mom's name for the boy and girl who were the most outstanding student ambassadors. My mom was very supportive of the Hands Across the Border program. We would often meet in Douglas at the house down there to plan with our sister school from Nacozari, Sonora. When we could no longer participate in this program, I still wanted to do some type of award in my mother's name. So I decided to do a combination Citizenship/Leadership Award and name it the Margaret Shannon Award.

My mother worked for Phelps Dodge Corporation for many years. When she retired, she was the manager of the Hardware Jobbing Division of Phelps Dodge. She had always been involved in politics serving
as a precinct committeewoman and working on different campaigns. She always stressed the importance of community service. Shortly after she retired, she ran for the Douglas City Council and beat an incumbent by a wide margin of votes. She served for 12 years up until she was almost 80. During that time, she was the vice mayor. When she died in 2002, she was still a member of the Cochise County Fair Board of Directors.

Last year's recipient is a wonderful young man, Ryan McCord. As a sixth grader, he was our student council president and showed great leadership and citizenship skills. I was proud for him to be the first winner of this award. This year, Ryan was the Hatch Award winner for the most outstanding sixth grader. I know that he will continue to be a great leader in the future. We don't have to worry about our future with children like Ryan McCord!!

Last year, Kerri came to the assembly and presented the award in her grandmother's name. Since she is teaching now, I asked my Aunt Teresa to please
help me give the award. She was leaving for California on Tuesday, but made sure it wasn't until after the Awards Assembly. I know she would have helped me give this out, but this year had special significance for our family. The young lady who won the award is the great granddaughter of my Aunt Teresa's best friend, Dorothy Huber. Teresa was the Maid of Honor at Dorothy's and Paul's wedding. They had been friends since they were about six years old! The young lady's father was there for the assembly and Teresa was so proud to be giving this award. My mom would have been proud, too. She would have loved having an award for both citizenship and leadership named after her.

hose we love are never really gone, as long as their stories are told." This is from my favorite children's book, The Last Dance. My mom's and Ellen's stories will live on with these awards!.

The end of the school year is always a time for tears. Relationships between teachers and families are built over the course of a school year. I believe these relationships are so important in the educational world. I believe that children learn best in an accepting and warm environment. I value the many relationships that I have built over the years, both as a teacher and as a principal. I was reminded of a quote that I really like. I concluded our staff luncheon today with it. "Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened." I am smiling now. I hope you are, too!

3 remarks:

Anonymous said...

Wow about life's full cycle. Remembering our dear Ellen who I loved as did so many people and your dear mother.!! What a lovely tribute to both of them through these special awards. I am sure so many of your staff have such fond memories of these outstanding women. Perhaps the young people don't as much, but that is o.k. Ellen and Magaret are in our memories and hearts. These young people will only grow in strength and courage under the shadow of these women.
Congratulations my Gilbert Elementary on another year well done!

Anonymous said...

Well said as usual Sheila! I was thrilled to see Aunt Teresa who looks wonderful and know your mom and Ellen had big smiles on their faces. I talked to Sissy Riley and they are beyond touched that we still have an award in honor of their precious daughter. Thanks for still keeping me in that wonderful Gilbert El. community. Love & hugs, Nancy

Cheela said...

Thank you, Sandra and Nancy. I added a little to this blog. I asked permission to use Ryan's name after you added your comments.

Nancy, I hope you will keep coming back to do the Rene Riley Award. I am so happy you were able to talk to her family!